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Management shake-up at Williams 25 May 2004

Sam Michael (AUS) Williams Chief Operations Engineer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, European Grand Prix, Nurburgring, Germany, 27 June 2003

Sam Michael is named the Williams team’s new Technical Director as part of a management reshuffle that sees Patrick Head become Director of Engineering.

The Williams team announced a revised management structure on Tuesday which sees Patrick Head take up a new post of Director of Engineering, with Sam Michael assuming responsibilities as Technical Director.

The management changes come after a detailed review of the company's technical strategy. Patrick Head, a company director and shareholder, will shift his emphasis away from daily technical operational duties and will focus instead on long view technology strategy, accommodating such concerns as addressing anticipated wholesale changes to technical regulations and bringing forward advanced technologies. He will take overall responsibility for the engineering capability of the company in facilities, personnel skills and organisation.

On the announcement, Head said: "For clarity, I am retaining my day to day executive involvement and equity holding in WilliamsF1. This is not a prelude to retirement. When Adrian Newey joined us in 1990, I moved from Chief Designer to Technical Director, and now I think the time and opportunity is right to make a further change. I will be supporting Sam fully in his new role and I expect to be no less busy with the new challenges I have set myself."

Head continued: "Formula One is a very complex organisational activity incorporating research, development and operations, and this new structure will help optimise our activities in all these key areas. This will be an immense challenge for Sam, but Frank and I intend to provide him with the authority to achieve his tasks while providing the support I can from my own experience, and my position as a director of the company."

Sam Michael, 33, is an Engineering graduate of the University of New South Wales, Australia, and joined Williams in 2001 after a variety of motor racing assignments including data engineering at Lotus and Head of R&D as well as race engineering duties at Jordan. His promotion from Chief Operations Engineer to Technical Director carries full technical responsibility for the design, development and deployment of the team’s race cars.

"Naturally, I am extremely pleased to have been given such a positive vote of confidence with the appointment to the position of Technical Director,” said Michael. “I share Patrick's view that this division of responsibilities will free Patrick to take on an important strategic role, and the timing allows me to take charge of the progression of the FW27 from the outset. I think it is obvious given the growth in complexity of the technical processes, our organisation and the level of competition in Formula One that we organise ourselves in a smarter fashion.”

Parallel with the changes to the company's technical management structure,
Williams' second wind tunnel is now operational, providing the company with an unsurpassed aerodynamic facility. The new facility supplements the team's existing first tunnel, enabling a greatly improved 'concept to track' time for all-important aerodynamic developments.

Williams have had a mixed first third to their 2004 season and currently lie fourth in the constructors’ standings with 35 points.